Thu Feb  6 17:34:35 1997
Subject: [AM] Contacts
Scene: Outide the Library
        Zachary sighed as he closed the door to the Library, leaving 
Mother and Daughter to talk alone.  To imagine such beauty all in one 
place ...
        Zachary sighed again as he made his way down the hall.  His 
heart went out to Laura, only imagining what she must have been feeling 
upon seeing her mother for the first time.  He hoped that mother and 
child could be reconciled.
        His thoughts left him briefly, as he nodded to a guard on his 
way down the broad staircase, then came back to him in a jumble, and he 
knew that he would have to take time to sort them all out.  Too many 
unanswered questions mixed in with too many possibilities for the newly 
arrived cousins.  He thought briefly back to the night before, at 
Brandi's flash of jealousy of her cousin.  He was glad that Brandi had 
not asked whom he thought more beautiful.  Besides the obvious problem 
of quantifying such a thing as beauty, he would have been hard pressed 
to decide between the two.
        He stopped in his wondering, pulling free his Trump deck from 
the bag at his side.  He stopped at Laura's new Trump, so recently added 
to his deck and many others at the Castle, and was only mildly surprised 
to see that Brandi's was the next card.  Mis-matched eyes peered back at 
him, happy and yet layered over a pain hidden deep within.  He hated to 
see that pain in her, always so near the surface.  Amber was not a happy 
place from Brandi.
        She had sat for him the once, the only time the two had seen 
each other outside of Amber.  A chance meeting along the road through 
Arden.  She had not yet walked the Pattern, and needed the Amberite 
version of a 'lift' back to her home shadow.  He allowed her to describe 
her destination, and slowly it became to be.
        She was cautious, even more so than other Amberites he knew.  
But asa they rode away from Amber, she became more cheerful and at 
ease.  After a while they arrived in her shadow, apparently the same one 
he and the others had so recently been too.  He asked her to sit for a 
sketch so that he could draw a Trump of her, and amazingly she agreed.  
And thus, hair slightly windblown, and happiness dancing on her face, 
Brandi's Trump soon came to be.
Scene: Bloody Bob's, later that night
        Zachary hadn't planned on eating here, but his earlier walk took 
him further from the castle than he realized, and by the time he got 
back, dinner would be long over.  He thought of inviting Laura and 
Brandi along, more so that they could meet, though the thought of such 
rather pleasant company did not disagree with him.  But he thought it 
best to let Brandi get settled, and for Laura to have as much time as 
she needed with her mother.
        He nodded to George, the current proprietor of Bloody Bob's, and 
found himself a seat at a table across from the door.  He followed 
through with the tradition, pulling his sword slightly out of it's 
sheath, and smiled up at the approaching barmaid.
        The fish was excellent as always, generously covered in fresh 
lemon.  Zachary ate as if starved, which in fact he was, for he hadn't 
had a thing to eat all day, and he was quite famished.  His second 
course was eaten at a much more relaxed pace.
        It was after the last succulunt morsel was chewed that he felt 
the impending Trump contact, one of many that he so recently received.  
He was beginning to realize just how a switchboard must feel, if in fact 
it did feel.
        The caller's splash of white hair gave his identity away 
immediately, despite the apparently new style it was in.  "Orbus!  It's 
been a long time."
          He appeared to be 
in a forested area, with flickering shadows in the distance behind him.  
In trouble it seemed.
        "Of course.  Take my hand." Zachary reached out, and moments 
later Orbus appeared in a rainbow shimmer.  A number of the patrons 
gawked at the blatant arrival, but Zachary decided to pay them no 
attention.  He certainly did not feel like explaining things to those 
who wouldn't understand.
        He sat down with a shrug.  "Thank you, cousin. Is the food here 
as good as I remember?"
        "Absolutely."  After such a fine meal, how could he say otherwise?
        "I hope I did not disturb your meal."  Orbus drew his sword out 
halfway, following the ancient tradition.  Zachary could not help but 
glance at the condition of the sword, laced with blood and what appeared 
to be scorch marks from some sort of fire.
        "On the contrary."  Zachary replied.  "A drink?"
        "Sounds wonderful."  Orbus agreed, and helped wave the barmaid 
over.  Soon two fresh bottles of Bayle's finest were before them.
        "Now then, what brings you back to Amber?"
        Orbus shrugged again.  "Just seemed to be the time for it.  Met 
some interesting company on the way home, though."
        "So it seems, it looked at if you were perhaps near Arden 
        Orbus nodded, taking a drink.  "I was, but my followers seemed 
persistent, and not of the friendly type either.  Something going on 
around here that I should know about?"
        It was Zachary's turn to shrug.  "Nothing to be too concerned 
about, I should think.  Dalt has decided to make another push against 
Amber.  But both Benedict and Julian are working against him."
        "Wonder if that has anything to do with my new found friends."  
Orbus thought aloud, more to himself than to Zachary.
        "Do you know why they were after you?"  Zachary prompted.
        Orbus shrugged.  "No real idea, other than it is interesting 
that they picked up my trail as I was coming home.  And that I came 
across a giant in one shadow who had been sent to kill me.  Called me a 
'thing of chaos' too.  I thought that was rather strange."
        Zachary nodded.  "Strange indeed, though in essence we all are, 
descended as we are from Dworkin."
        "True enough, but Amber is the stronger."
        Zachary's reply was intererrupted by yet another Trump contact.  
He opened his mind cautiously.  Orbus fell quiet as he saw his cousin 
slip into the semi-trance that followed a contact.  "Who calls?"
          He saw her before him, superimposed 
over Orbus.  A large smile played on her lips.
        "Is something wrong, Laura?  I'm at Bloody Bob's with another 
cousin of ours you haven't yet met.  Do you need me to bring you 
through?"  She didn't look to be in danger, but one never knew, and he 
certainly did not expect a call from her.
          She nearly gushed with excitement.
        "Congratulations, Laura."  Zachary smiled, pleased with Laura's 
progress, and truly amazed by it as well.  "It's quite an accomplishment 
you've made, not that I'm overly surprised."
        "No, not Brandi.  She is yet at the Castle, I believe.  I'm with 
our Cousin Orbus.  You'll meet him soon."
          She asked hopefully
        "No, my dear."  Zachary couldn't help by chuckle at Laura's 
frustration.  One day she would not be the newest Royal, she would have 
to learn to be patient.
        She gave a deep sigh.  
        Laura shimmered from his view, replaced by the questioning face 
of Orbus.  Zachary stood up.  "Come, cousin, there are a couple of new 
Royals you should meet."
        Orbus rose and strapped his sword to his side.  "Well then, 
cousin, lead the way."
NRPG: Okay, finally got it out.  Apologies for taking so long, but I 
have been very busy the last few weeks, and when I wasn't I was sick ... 
ugh!  At any rate, I'm feeling much better now, and I'm working on 
freeing up even more time for myself.
Now here's a chance for everyone to meet, so go at it, you Amber-loving 
people :)
                           ///          /// 
                           \ //        /  /           
      Christopher           \ ////   _/  /     Zachary, Librarian of
      Ackney                 \_  ////    /     Castle Amber, son to
                              \___/    /       King Random   /         \_      
                             /,)-_(  \_   \     
      AT 1Posya6.1900        (/   \\ /\\\\         <\
                                   //               >\
                                    '               >/
        "It was a very foul blow, about four